Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2010 22:24 UTC, submitted by koki
GNU, GPL, Open Source Now this is interesting. We see what is at its core a very valid concern, in practice not a problem to anyone, and, thanks to the tone of the press release, close to trolling. The Free Software Foundation Latin America is complaining about something that has been known for a while - there is some non-Free code stuck in the Linux kernel (mostly firmware). A valid issue of concern from an idealogical viewpoint, but sadly, the tone of the press release turns this valid concern into something close to trolling.
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Well
by WereCatf on Tue 9th Nov 2010 22:34 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Purists want one thing, practicalists want another thing. But the truth is, it's easier to just opt out from using those binary blobs than it would be for random people to find them when they happen to need their devices.

Still, I don't quite think having binary blobs in the kernel source tree is even an issue in the first place, what is an issue is this: do they have permission to distribute those binaries? If they didn't have I'd understand all this ruckus, but however if they indeed do have all the needed permissions then there is absolutely nothing to complain over!

Reply Score: 9

RE: Well
by raboof on Wed 10th Nov 2010 00:52 in reply to "Well"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

Still, I don't quite think having binary blobs in the kernel source tree is even an issue in the first place

For purists, it is: suppose I'm a purist and I write some code for the Linux Kernel (in the pre-binaryblobs era). Releasing the code under the GPL, I can rest assured my code will only be used in accordance with the GPL, and not be distributed bundled with evil proprietary code.

Now Linus decides to ignore the GPL and distribute *my* code, along with evil proprietary code! I didn't want that - that's why I released my code under the GPL - and Linus didn't ask for my permission.

(i'm not really a purist, and haven't contributed anything to the kernel apart from some bits of documentation, but this makes it easier to get the point across ;) ).

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Well
by WereCatf on Wed 10th Nov 2010 01:00 in reply to "RE: Well"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Now Linus decides to ignore the GPL and distribute *my* code, along with evil proprietary code! I didn't want that - that's why I released my code under the GPL - and Linus didn't ask for my permission.

First of all, the binary blobs are not part of the kernel itself in any way or form: they do not run in the kernel, they do not run on the CPU itself, and they are not needed for any part of the kernel itself to function.

The only time the kernel uses the firmware blobs in any way is when it just uploads them to the hardware device, that's when the device executes it.

As such I just can't help but feel like someone is going for pure strawman arguments here.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Well
by bert64 on Wed 10th Nov 2010 09:06 in reply to "Well"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

These binary blobs are primarily firmware for various hardware devices... The alternative is that the firmware is stored on a flash chip on the device itself, however this would increase the price of said devices.

Either way you end up running the binary code, although at least with it being loaded by software you have the potential to modify it more easily.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Well
by Sollord on Wed 10th Nov 2010 12:06 in reply to "Well"
Sollord Member since:
2006-01-05

Meh real purists use OPENBSD everyone else just be trollin'

Reply Parent Score: 2